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Stimulus check: How much money will you get, and when?

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The $2 trillion economic stimulus bill includes help for American families who are hurting financially due to the economic impact of the coronavirus. Most adults will receive $1,200 checks, plus $500 for each of their children. The massive relief package will funnel $290 billion in direct payments to individuals and families. Households are expected to get a check within weeks or months. That could provide a lifeline for the millions of Americans who have already been laid off or seen their income plunge as people hole up to avoid infection.

"Low- and middle-income households would receive about 68 percent of the payments," noted Tax Policy Center senior fellow Howard Gleckman in a blog post. Here's what to know about how the payments will work.

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Who will get a $1,200 check? 

The key factor is your household's annual income, because the package is aimed at helping low- and moderate-income families. Some wealthier families might not receive a stimulus check.

  • Individual taxpayers will get $1,200 each if their adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $75,000.
  • Individual taxpayers with AGIs above $75,000 will receive smaller checks, with a $5 reduction for every $100 in income above $75,000. 

In other words, if your AGI is $80,000, your check would be reduced by $250 — the total payout would be about $950. To determine how much you'll get, you can use this stimulus check calculator by OmniCalculator.

Middle-income households that earn between $51,000 to $91,000 would receive an average payment of about $1,810, or about 3% of their after-tax income, according to Gleckman. 

What if I'm married or a head of household? 

  • Married couples will receive $2,400 if they earn less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income.
  • Head of households will receive $1,200 if they earn less than $112,500 in AGI. 
  • Payments will be reduced by $5 for every $100 in income above those AGI limits.

How do I find my adjusted gross income? 

Adjusted gross income reflects how much of your income is taxable after certain deductions, such as your retirement contributions. Here's how to find your AGI:

  • 2018 tax year: Line 7 on your Form 1040.
  • 2019 tax year: Line 8b of your Form 1040.

Will children get a $500 check?

Yes. Taxpayers with dependent children will receive a $500 payment for each child, which isn't determined by income. In other words, taxpayers will get a $500 payment for each of their children, regardless of how high their income is. 

There is a catch on children, however: only kids who haven't yet turned 17 are eligible. 

I haven't filed my 2019 taxes yet. Does that matter?

No. The government will base its checks on either your 2019 or 2018 tax filing. If you haven't filed your 2019 taxes yet — and many people haven't, given the IRS has delayed its tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15 — the government will use your 2018 tax returns to determine your stimulus payment. 

When will I get my check?

This is the big unknown. Congressional aides have said the checks could roll out in a matter of weeks, according to Politico. 

But issuing checks to millions of Americans is complicated, and payments might not arrive for months. Stimulus payments issued in 2008 during the Great Recession took about three months after they were approved in Congress to actually reach consumers, Tax Policy Center senior fellow Janet Holtzblatt noted.

Who won't get a check? 

  • High-income earners without children. For instance, individuals who earn more than $99,000 phase out completely from the stimulus plan. Married couples earning more than $198,000 (and no kids as dependents) also aren't eligible for payments.
  • Non-resident aliens. Workers in the U.S. without a green card don't qualify, according to the bill.
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